Are you hoping to hold your own little bundle of joy soon?
Trying to get pregnant can be a lot of fun, but for many couples it
can be frustrating too! Understanding the basics about ovulation
can help you to take some steps that could increase your chances of
The Menstrual Cycle
A woman's menstrual cycle (starting from the first day of the
period to the first day of the next period) is usually between 23
and 35 days long. Although ovulation can be irregular, it typically
occurs 12-16 days before the start of your next menstrual
period. In a 28-day cycle, ovulation often occurs on the 14th day.
During ovulation, an egg is released into the fallopian tube, where
it waits to be fertilized—something that must occur within 24 to
48 hours for pregnancy to take place. If the egg is not
fertilized, menstruation will usually occur in about two weeks.
Aside from estimating ovulation using the calendar of your
cycle, the following methods can help you determine when you are
Rise in Basal Body Temperature
Right after ovulation, many women have an increase in basal (early morning) body
temperature (approximately 0.5°-1.6°). By taking and
recording your temperature every morning before rising, you should
note a pattern over the next few cycles. Plan to have intercourse
during the two or three days before your temperature normally
rises. The downside of this method is that you must be vigilant in
taking and recording your temperature every day for several
You may be able to determine ovulation by observing changes in
your body. One change is that your cervical mucus becomes clear,
slippery, stretchy, and similar to raw egg whites. This mucus helps
to increase the movement of the sperm through your uterus to the
fallopian tubes where it meets the egg. Some women also experience
discomfort, achiness, or twinges of pain in the lower abdomen during
ovulation. Known as
, the discomfort may last
for a few minutes or several hours.
Ovulation Test Kits
Easy-to-use kits for determining ovulation are available in many
stores. They involve urinating on test strips which change color
when you are ovulating. They have an accuracy rate of up to
Increasing Your Chances of Conceiving
Have intercourse frequently. It will not decrease male
fertility, but will increase your chance of getting pregnant during your fertile period.
Track your cycle. The closer intercourse is to ovulation, the more likely you will become pregnant. Since the egg can only be fertilized 24-48 hours after ovulation, it will probably be difficult to get pregnant if you have intercourse either after or more than six days before this peak time.
Other Facts About Conception and Infertility
You will not necessarily conceive in the first few months of
not using birth control. It may take up to a year.
Healthy couples can have fertility problems.
Unless you have a perfect, consistent 28-day cycle, which is not the
norm for most women, you are not necessarily most fertile on day
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a